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About Me

Ilia Rodov serves as Professor at the Department of Jewish Art and holds The Samson Feldman Chair in History and Culture of East-European Jewry. He is also the editor-in-chief of Ars Judaica: Bar Ilan Journal of Jewish Art and a co-editor of Jews, Judaism, and the Arts book series at Brill Academic Publishers.

Prof. Rodov explores Jewish visual culture and synagogue art, focusing on the history, patronage, meanings, function and perceptions of paintings, sculptures, architectural decoration, and furniture design. He investigates the manifestations of sanctity in Jewish religious art and architecture and conducts comparative research of microarchitectural shrines in ritual spaces of world religions. He  managed research projects supported by the Israel Science Foundation and German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development.

Rodov is engaged in the scholarly and curatorial projects for research and representation of contemporary art created by USSR- and FSU-born Israeli artists.

Prof. Rodov supervised numeral MA and PhD dissertations. Several of those are monographs on ritual architecture and art, the production of religious art, and visual and material dimensions of rituals. Other dissertations present interdisciplinary research of texts and images; expressions of religious, national, social, gender, and age identities in the plastic arts, visual culture, printed ephemera and typographic design, and school art classes.

Ilia Rodov was born in Bobruisk (Belarus) to a family of several generations of Jewish decorative painters. He studied plastic arts at the Serov Art Instutute (former Tavricheskaya Art School) in Saint Petersburg (then Leningrad), and earned a summa cum laude M.A. degree in Theory and History of Arts from the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts. His thesis analyzed Marc Chagall’s illustrations to Nikolai Gogol’s “Dead Souls.” Rodov received his Ph.D. degree at the Department of Art History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with the dissertation entitled “The Development of Medieval and Renaissance Sculptural Decoration in Ashkenazi Synagogues from Worms to the Cracow Area.”

Prof. Rodov began his academic career by teaching at the Departments of Art History and the Department of Jewish and Comparative Folklore, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He joined the faculty of Bar-Ilan University as a lecturer in art history at the Department of Comparative Literature, then took a tenure position at the Program for Jewish Art. Rodov served as founding chair of the Department of Jewish Art (2014–2020) and contributed to launching the MA academic programs in Jewish Art History and in Art Therapy.

Rodov worked as Director of the Academic Program for Jewish Studies in the Republic of Belorussia at the Chais Center (the Hebrew University of Jerusalem). He also curated exhibitions, exhibited his own art works, illustrated books, and created wall paintings.

Research Interests


Sacred Shrines: Comparative Research

Synagogue Art and Architecture

Jewish Visual Culture in Europe

Jerusalem and the Sanctuary in Art

Depictions and Descriptions of Synagogues

Utopias in Art

Symbols in Jewish Art

Symbols of Divine Presence in Jewish art

Christian and Jewish Art of the Renaissance and Baroque Ages

Hebrew Script in Christian Art

Aspiration for Knowledge as Reflected in Jewish Art

Semantics of Visual Arts

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Jan 1994Jan 2002

Award Date: 1 Jan 2002

Master's Degree

Oct 1986Jun 1991

Award Date: 30 Jun 1991


Oct 1978Jun 1982

Award Date: 30 Jun 1982


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